Katrina: A 10-Year Review

by Walter Brasch This week is the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the southeastern gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina. More than 1,800 people died. There is no estimate for the number of pets and wildlife. Damage was estimated at more than $100 billion. About 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded. In Mississippi, the water surge flooded as much as 10 miles from the beaches. The Category 3 storm should not have caused that much damage, but it exposed poorly-designed levees that should have protected New Orleans. Sanctimonious critics, many of them conservative politicians, claimed that if the residents had evacuated New Orleans like they were ordered, the death toll and suffering would have been significantly less. What they … Continue reading

Canned Pleasure: The Thrill of the Kill

By Walter Brasch Would you like to go to Zimbabwe, kill and behead a lion, just like that dentist from Minnesota or the physician from Pittsburgh recently did? They paid about $50,000 each for that experience. How about a black rhino, an endangered species? A professional hunter from Dallas, Texas, won a $350,000 lottery to stalk and kill that animal in southern Namibia. In the 1950s, there were about 70,000 black rhinos. There are now fewer than 2,400, most of them killed off by the human predators. If giraffes are your thing, you can go to South Africa and, like a woman from Idaho, kill the world’s tallest animal, pose with it, and post it onto your Facebook page. But, … Continue reading

Their Cheatin’ Souls: Short Circuiting Ethics in America

    by Walter Brasch   New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he had nothing to do with having air removed from game balls. The NFL, following an investigation, says he did. It gave him a four game suspension, which he is appealing. That four game suspension could cost him somewhere between $2 million and $4 million of his $14 million 2015 salary. If he plays well with others, doesn’t get into any more trouble, and injuries and retirement don’t stop his career before he becomes 40 years old in 2017, he will earn $31 million for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The NFL also fined the Patriots $1 million and required the team to forfeit its first round … Continue reading

Hiroshima — Seventy Years On

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… Because of the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mutually Assured Destruction forestalled World War III and became, instead, a “Cold War” in which the loss of human life was miniscule compared to what might have happened were the Eastern Bloc and the Western Powers NOT constrained by that horror. Continue reading

Three Commandments for Every State Capitol

    by Walter Brasch   The Oklahoma Supreme Court this past week ordered the legislature and the executive branch to remove a six-foot tall Ten Commandments granite monument from the front of the state house. The monument was placed there in January and is a direct violation of the First Amendment. The response by dozens of legislators, most of whom may be illiterate about the Constitution, was to call for the impeachment of the justices. The state’s attorney general who, presumably, took Constitutional Law in college, said he would appeal the decision. He, and many legislators, are also thinking of repealing the part of the state constitution that prohibits the use of public funds for religious purposes. The only … Continue reading

A Journey to Mississippi

In the summer of 1994 when I was 15 years old my father and I went down to Mississippi to visit my uncle and his daughter; a cousin of mine I had only seen in photos. I was excited and at the same time scared out of my mind to go to Mississippi. I was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. My father’s side of the family is from a small southern town in Alabama called Marion. I went to several family reunions in Alabama and had a great time. The people were nice and acted as if they knew me my whole life. Mississippi however, was a whole other animal in my mind. I had heard the story of … Continue reading

Whoopin’ and a-Hollerin’ for the Plantation Life

  by Walter Brasch   Judge A. Joseph Antanavage, with shotgun in hand, stood before a modified Confederate battle flag, and looked as if he had planned to defend whatever it is that the Confederate flag stands for. But, this wasn’t in the South. This was at a pigeon shoot near Hamburg, Pa. Pennsylvania is not only where the only legal organized pigeon shoots still exist, but where it’s not unusual to see shooters waving the Confederate flag or wearing clothing that features the flag. Pennsylvania is the Keystone state, the state where the Declaration of Independence was written, and the Articles of Confederation approved. It is where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863, four months … Continue reading